Iíd been wanting to return to Sunrise Hut for a long time, remembering its wonderful position just above the bush line with extensive views out to the southern Hawkes Bay. Everyone else seems to have caught on to the idea too and the hut is so popular it is bookable through to the end of April. Nine bunks were booked with DOC but a very wet forecast with strong southerlies and illness meant that only six came on the trip.
We stayed in cabins in a gem of a motorcamp in Dannevirke - and had heavy rain overnight. Misty rain Saturday saw us all undecided on what to do, but as the options were not extensive in wet weather we headed to Triplex road end anyway. Although it was only 7.5 degrees we donned our packs and headed up - Pedro having set off first. He was not at Triplex as we thought so we continued up the beautifully graded track to Sunrise. The bush is varied and changes from beech to alpine as the track climbs. The rain didnít really eventuate and there was no wind. Three hours later we arrived in the mist to a well maintained hut and a hot fire, thanks to Pedro - and our choice of bunks. Christine, Peter and Howard ventured on in the mist to Armstrong saddle. People and family groups dribbled in until dark and soon the hut was all but full.
After overnight rain, Sunday dawned clear - and although the sunrise was not dramatic we had views out to Hawke Bay and to the peaks behind the hut, covered in a sprinkling of fresh snow. The dawn chorus, together with the roaring of stags (copied perhaps by humans beyond) was enjoyed by all. Included was a very unusual and distinctive call which created extensive debate - could it, in spite of being the wrong habitat, be a kokako??? We wandered down the track home, identifying many trees and plants and seeing others we didnít know, and stopped frequently to listen and enjoy the many birds. (no more kokako). Coffee in Ongaonga tearooms was a treat and an easy drive through the Wairarapa saw us home before six.
- Party members
- Christine and Peter Whiteford, Kathy Griffin, Howard Smith, Peter (Pedro) and Vivienne